Harriet’s How To – Chocolate Mousse


Chocolate mousse holds a very special place in my heart, or should I say, stomach. I have fond memories of Mum serving up chocolate mousse in her tall sundae glasses with a few berries on top and if we were lucky, a crushed flake. It has consistently been one of my favourite desserts my entire life and despite the extreme amount consumed for this experiment, I still love it.

In my opinion, a versatile chocolate mousse needs to be able to be served as a standalone treat or integrated into a stunning dessert, whether it be layered into a glass or plated. It should be light and fluffy in texture, have a balanced rich chocolate flavour and not be overly sweet. No added sugar is necessary.

Gordon Ramsay
I love a bit of Gordon Ramsay, but I did not love his Milk Chocolate and Nutmeg Mousse. This one put me through the wringer. There are four components to this mousse: a pâté à bombe, Italian meringue, whipped cream, and melted chocolate. Pâté à bombe is whisked egg yolks with a boiling hot sugar syrup whipped into it, then beaten until extremely thick and creamy. Italian meringue is the same process but using the egg whites, which are whipped until stiff and cool. Not for the novice cook, this recipe required a stand mixer, handheld beater, two lots of sugar syrups, a sugar thermometer, a double boiler and many more bowls. Once every component is ready, you fold milk chocolate and nutmeg into the pâté à bombe, then fold in the Italian meringue, followed by the cream. After it had set in the fridge overnight, I was buzzing with excitement to try this masterpiece that took an hour to create. I love sweet things, but this was sickly sweet. Nutmeg enhances flavour and it had that exact effect on the already sweet mousse. The texture was very soft and silky as opposed to the fluffy hold I usually love in a mousse. Paired with balancing components, this mousse has potential, but on its own, it was a miss from me!


The Kitchn
The Kitchn is an American food blog, where I found a Two-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse recipe, from contributor Meghan Splawn. You’ve probably guessed it, but the two ingredients were cream and chocolate. First, a portion of warmed cream is used to melt the chocolate and create a smooth ganache. A second portion of cream is whipped and folded into the ganache, giving it the crucial aerated texture. I’ve got to give it to Meghan, this mousse was surprisingly airy and pleasantly rich, although lacked a depth of flavour. The method was simple to follow and exceptionally quick, which always gets a big tick from me. This would be a great recipe to pair with a chocolate torte or if the mousse was one of a few components in a dessert, but I wouldn’t serve this as a standalone, wow-factor mousse.


Australian Women’s Weekly
The Australian Women’s Weekly Classic Chocolate Mousse is the recipe that my mum, Tracey, has made my whole life. You could say I was a little biased towards this one from the get-go. I wasn’t the sole test taster though, and the majority favoured this one too. Egg yolks are folded into melted chocolate along with a knob of butter. Softly whipped cream is then folded into the chocolate mix, followed by whipped egg whites. The method of this recipe meets in the middle of the Kitchn’s and Gordon’s. Despite using its fair share of bowls and utensils, it’s quick and easy. The second time I made it, however, I did run into the problem of my chocolate seizing when I added the cream. Mousse is a bit of a science and Vicki explained to me that this problem would be avoided if I added the egg whites first, which you will see in my final recipe. This classic chocolate mousse is airy with beautiful structure and has a luscious, rich chocolate flavour. While I do love this recipe, a few subtle flavourings would take it up a notch to make the ultimate mousse.


The Chocolate Mousse in the New Classics Cookbook by Saveur magazine was inspired by Julia Child’s recipe. It starts by melting chocolate and rum together, which later gets butter whisked into it to create a smooth mix. Like Gordon’s recipe, the yolks are whipped with a sugar syrup to create a pâté à bombe, although this syrup uses coffee instead of water. The egg whites are whisked with a pinch of cream of tartar until stiff. The chocolate mix is folded into the pâté à bombe, then the whites are gradually folded in. The mousse did set but was silky and flat rather than light and fluffy. I assume this was because it was the only recipe without whipped cream folded through. I loved the addition of the coffee and rum in this one. It brought the extra flavour that I was looking for in the Australian Women’s Weekly recipe. I found using a pâté à bombe unnecessarily sweetens the mousse, so while this recipe had depth of flavour, it was let down by being overly sweet.


My taste in chocolate mousse clearly leans to the Americanised versions rather than the classic French style of Gordon Ramsay and Saveur, with my two favourites being the Kitchn’s and Austrlaian Women’s Weekly. There’s no need for added sugar using a pâté à bombe or Italian meringue as it overly sweetens the dessert and creates a tacky texture.


While the Kitchn’s was enjoyable, it lacked complexity, so my pick of the lot was the Australian Women’s Weekly Classic Chocolate Mousse. In my ultimate mousse recipe, I have used this as a base, but have increased the chocolate and butter quantity and added coffee liqueur and vanilla essence. It makes a large batch of mousse, perfect for dessert with family and friends.

Chocolate Mousse
This mousse will perform for any occasion, whether serving it set in a glass, layered into a dessert, or individually presented. If liqueur isn’t your thing, simply leave it out!

250g 50% dark chocolate
50g butter
3 eggs, separated
3 tbsp of coffee liqueur
1 tsp vanilla extract
300ml cream

Place the chocolate in a bowl, set it over a pot of gently simmering water and allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally. Once it has almost fully melted, take it off the heat and add in the butter, stirring until smooth. Stir in the egg yolks and set aside.

Using an electric hand mixer, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt beyond soft peaks, but not quite at stiff peaks. You want the whites to be glossy, pure white and have a bit of flop in the peaks when you lift the beaters out.

Using the hand mixer again, whip the cream until just past soft peaks so it has a bit of structure. Whisk in the vanilla and liqueur.

Using a large metal spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold a third of the egg whites into the chocolate mix, then fold the remaining whites in. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the cream mix. Once the cream is fully folded in, set the mousse in glasses or into a container and chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

To serve like I have here, pipe the mousse into chocolate spheres. Allow the mousse to set in the fridge, then place one mousse sphere on each plate and garnish with chocolate pearls and freeze dried raspberries (both available at vetro).

Words Harriet Boucher, Images Ashlee Decaires



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